Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC Sport.com's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.
Getty Images

Does pitching faster lead to better results?

16 Comments

There’s an idea out there that a pitcher who works faster pitches better. He gets more strikes called and his defense doesn’t go to sleep on him. The idea is that guys who plod along, in contrast, struggle to get borderline calls and generally labor. Work fast, throw strikes, baby.

But is it true? Or is this a situation in which we really just remember good fast workers like Greg Maddux who would’ve been threading the needle anyway and slow, plodding guys who struggle? Alternatively — or in addition? — is it just that we find fast work from a pitcher more aesthetically pleasing than slow work and thus assume that faster pitching means more effective pitching?

Those are some complicated questions, but Ben Lindbergh is a smart guy and yesterday he tackled them over at The Ringer. The results, as is often the case when the questions are complicated, are less than clear cut, but as with most things baseball-related, the journey is interesting even if things turn out a bit muddled.

Oh, and Ben works fast too, so there’s that.

Eighth inning rally powers Team USA over Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic

Getty Images
15 Comments

The U.S. team was down 2-1 to Venezuela heading into the eighth inning in San Diego last night. Then Adam Jones and Eric Hosmer took over and helped power the hometown squad to victory.

The United States was down 2-0 heading into the seventh, unable to get any work done against Felix Hernandez. They scratched one run on the board via a sac fly in that frame, but the real damage came in the eighth. That’s when Adam Jones hit a solo shot to tie things at two. Then Christian Yelich singled and Eric Hosmer took Hector Rondon deep to make it 4-2. That’s where things would end up when it was all said and done.

Pool F play continues tonight as Venezuela takes on the Dominican Republic. Tomorrow the U.S. will face Puerto Rico.

The A’s and Mariners Twitter accounts are throwing down

Getty Images
12 Comments

It began innocently enough. The Mariners, as they do every spring, have released their promotional videos for the upcoming season. And, as they are every spring, they’re pretty clever and amusing.

One of them celebrated “Felix Day,” which is when M’s Nation — assuming there is such a thing as M’s-Nation — celebrates the day on which Felix Hernandez pitches:

As you can see in the video, there is an instance in which a man gives a woman a baseball-themed ring. Which prompted this from the division rival Athletics:

And on it went:

I think the Mariners will be pretty good this year, but really, the A’s and M’s fighting for supremacy is like a match between Iron Mike Sharpe and, I dunno, S.D. Jones or Sam Houston circa 1986. Maybe it’s entertaining and maybe they fight real hard, but the Rangers are the real headliners (Ric Flair), the Angels are not great, but they have more star power (Dusty Rhodes) and the Astros are being given the push by the bookers (Sting).

This feud feels pretty undercard to me.